KARACHI: Health experts have appealed to the government to address the issues regarding health systems governance so that reproductive health rights are accessed by all and policies are implemented with immediate effect.
The discussion was organised by the Shirkat Gah organisation at a local hotel today, which was addressed by the researchers Dr Zakir Shah, Amina Azhar, Dr Shershah Syed, Imtiaz Kamal, Sophia Jamal, Dr Tabina Sarosh, Imran Shervanee, Ghafar Malik and others.
The civil society activists working in the field of reproductive health shared their experiences they have been facing to convince the people of rural areas. They said a large number of women in the Pakistan die due to unsafe abortion. They urged the government to increase the funding for health facilities and recruit at least eight midwives for one doctor.
They stressed the need to tackle social determinants of health by adopting an integrated approach to women’s reproductive health. The speakers asserted that despite being 51 per cent of the total population and contributing to the nation’s economy through formal and informal labour, women continue to be marginalised in terms of social, political and economic growth. They said poverty is a key determinant of public health facility and is also closely related to the well being of women in terms of nutrition and food security.
They urged the government to fulfill its commitments related to women’s rights, health and well being. Earlier, Shirkat Gah while sharing its research report stated that early age marriage has a high prevalence in Jacobabad and Matiari where they found the average age to be 12-14 for girls who get married. The women have their first birth by average age 18 while 9 per cent have begun child bearing between 15-19 years. The data also shows that sexual minorities also continue to suffer through social stigmatisation, marginalisation and remain deprived of opportunities and rights.